Slovensko Roma - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities . Adaptability and flexibility are characteristic of the Roma's economic practice; they tend to avoid salaried jobs as much as possible in order to retain a total control over what they do with their time. They tend to occupy a commercial niche, in part left free by the non-Gypsies, and, if necessary, they engage in more than one activity at a time. Over the last hundred years the Roma have engaged in activities typical of peripatetic groups: the sale of goods, the sale of services, and the occasional and temporary sale of labor to the non-Gypsies. In Slovenia they worked, above all, as smiths, making or repairing the small tools used by the non-Gypsies for agricultural purposes; they also acted as horse dealers and every so often worked for wages as gravel makers on the roads. The women and children were mainly beggars; begging often involved an exchange of goods for services: the Gypsy women would enter peasant farmers' houses, reciting spells that would bring prosperity to the household and receiving food and clothing in Exchange. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Roma had already begun to abandon working as smiths. In Italy, until the sixties, they were mainly involved in horse dealing and begging, while in more recent times they have developed activities connected with the sale of used metals, used cars, fruit, precious objects, and even real estate. Only a few Families have continued to practice horse dealing, while begging has been replaced in part by requests for church and public assistance. Some families, albeit discontinuously, will accept salaried labor connected with seasonal fruit harvesting.


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